Levinson Developmental Tasks

Topics: Middle age, Adult, Old age Pages: 2 (583 words) Published: October 31, 2014
According to Levinson, what four developmental tasks must middle-aged adults confront in order to rebuild their life structure? Provide examples to illustrate all four. What are possible selves, and why are they important in middle adulthood?

Levinson's seasons of life theory depicted adult development as a sequence of qualitatively distinct areas separated by transitions (Berk, 2014, pg 470). A key concept in Levinson's theory is the life structure (Berk, 2014, p470). The life structure is the underlying design of a persons life, consisting of relationships with significant others; individuals, groups and institutions (Berk, 2014, pg 470). According to Levinson, to reassess and rebuild their life structure, middle-aged adults must confront four developmental tasks, each requiring the individual to reconcile two opposing tendencies within the self, attaining greater internal harmony (Berk, 2014, pg 535). Those four tasks are young-old, destruction-creation, masculinity-femininity, and engagement-separateness.

Young-old middle aged person seeks new ways of being both young and old (Berk, 2014, pg 535). Giving up certain useful qualities, transforming others, and finding positive meaning in being older. Physical aging is the most sensitive area for balance between young and old. The older woman is concerned with appearing less attractive as the older man is concerned with the challenge related to work requiring physical strength.

Destruction-creation focuses on the way he or she has acted destructively (Berk, 2014, pg 535). Past hurtful acts toward parents, intimate partners, children, friends and coworkers are countered by strong desire to participate in activities that advance human welfare and leave a legacy for future generations (Berk, 2014, pg 535). The middle-aged person acts with a greater awareness of mortality (Berk, 2014, pg 535). Not only do adults confronting this task try to make amends with those affected by destructive...
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